In a decade shadowed by the draft and the war in Vietnam, Reuben is a raw-boned, determined teenager whose ideas of romance have been shaped by the songs of his generation and whose dreams seem well within his reach despite the death of his tyrannical father. He tries to do everything right according to the standard American success story - but life is not a straight line for him. He stars in high school sports, but has to abandon his athletic ambitions to go to work. He labors hard at the local filling station and works his way up to buying it, but is frustrated by obstacles in his way. He meets a rich and beautiful older woman who takes him into her bed, and has the misfortune to witness her child's mysterious murder. He marries his childhood sweetheart, and finds himself on a battleground that lies between desire and responsibility. While nothing turns out as Reuben expects, his incredible spirit and core of strength, his refusal to break down or cave in, is evidenced by his readiness to love again after he meets the beautiful Pearl. And his struggle to become the person he had envisioned gives insight into what it costs him to become a man in a world he never made but learns to accept. Moving from the still landscape of the Fifties and through the riven fault lines of the Sixties and Seventies, The Book of Reuben explores the contours of time and place. Nodd's Ridge and its people come alive as Tabitha King's deeply involving novel captures the searing, gritty reality of small-town America. Bristling with explosive emotions and filled with anger, love, confrontation, and reconciliation, it touches a common nerve and casts a light on our own lives.